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Greenpeace Seeks Full Public Input into Giant Mine

Greenpeace Seeks Full Public Input into Giant Mine Plan

Thursday, 9 October 2003: Greenpeace representatives travelled to Huntly today to request that Environment Waikato re-start the RMA submission process on Awaroa 4, a massive new 11 million tonne coal mine proposed by Solid Energy. Disappointingly councillors Helen Lane, Steve Osbourne and Barry O’Connor decided to continue the undemocratic actions of Environment Waikato and continue the hearing without fully re-notifying the public for input.

Environment Waikato deemed that impacts of the enormous proposed mine could be described as ‘minor’. They used new Resource Management Act ‘limited notification’ rules to justify informing only a small pool of groups and individuals. This excluded the general public and most public-interest groups from having appropriate input.

“Clearly, Solid Energy’s 225 hectare coal mine proposal is not a ‘minor’ matter,” said Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson. “Solid Energy plans to move 113 million tonnes of earth in order to mine the 11 million tonnes of coal beneath, and redivert a stream. The opencast mine will further contaminate Lake Waahi from polluted water pumped out of the enormous crater, which would then run into the Waikato River."

“We believed Environment Waikato made a mistake so we went to Huntly today to ask that they re-start the submission period. We’d like to see Environment Waikato allow anyone in the country who has a view about the Awaroa 4 mining proposal to be treated fairly and have their evidence and opinions taken into account when they assess Solid Energy’s application.”

“This is obviously not a little local issue but one that has significance on a national and international scale. Once the 11 million tonnes of coal is mined it will be crushed into dust and burnt at the Huntly Power Station. A Greenpeace scientist has conservatively estimated that this will contribute 45.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that will fuel dangerous global warming,” concluded Ms Atkinson.

“This proposal is not only relevant to Waikato locals but also should be of serious concern to everyone in Auckland. It is a timely reminder that Aucklanders drink what is dumped further up the Waikato River.”

For information contact: Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson 021 565 165 Greenpeace communications officer Dean Baigent-Mercer 021 790 817

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